Apple Cider Vinegar – you see it on the shelves at the grocery store or, if you venture inside, the health store. What is it, why would you want to use it and … can you make it at home? If you have been thinking that vinegar is vinegar is vinegar, and you wonder what the fuss is about, it’s time you learned about the wonders of apple cider vinegar!
Best Type of Apple Cider Vinegar
Even if you aren’t aware of the medicinal uses for apple cider vinegar, you likely know about its use in cooking. For thousands of years people have used it for everything from treating diabetes to cleaning wounds to lowering blood pressure. While not all of that has been proven, there is no doubt that apple cider vinegar – often shortened to ACV – should definitely be included in your diet.
Like so many other things, though, all is not equal among the brands and types of apple cider vinegar. There are definitely things to be kept in mind to ensure that you are using the highest quality.
The problem of “ugly produce”, which means that groceries refuse to buy any produce that is less than perfect, shows a major problem when it comes to the entire grocery industry. They prefer to present perfect, aesthetically pleasing products at all times, and that includes products which should be left “ugly” for their full health benefits.
This means that most of the apple cider vinegar that you find will be pasteurized and distilled.
Pasteurized and distilled apple cider vinegar might look pretty on the outside, but it is certainly not better on the inside. The pasteurization and distillation processes destroy most of the health benefits and leave you with a product that is far less than advertised.
Healthy, living apple cider vinegar has a “vinegar mother”.
This is a stringy, brown substance that forms from the naturally occurring pectin and apple residue. The vinegar mother contains many additional enzymes and minerals that are not found in the heavily processed vinegars.
Of course the jury is still out about the nutritional benefits of organic foods, but the simple truth is that they are grown without artificial pesticides and other toxic chemicals that no one should ever be consuming. Apples rank second in the Dirty Dozen list of produce, with only strawberries being worst.
This means that non-organic apples most definitely contain high levels of toxic chemicals.
It’s pretty easy to tell if your apple cider vinegar is made from organic apples, though. Just look for the label. Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is the kind that I use, and it is available in many places.
For the sake of convenience, the market also offers apple cider vinegar in a tablet or capsule form. While it may save time to take a pill, it won’t do you as much good as the liquid form of apple cider vinegar. The creation of these tablets means a considerable amount of extra processing which robs it of many of the nutrients for which a person takes it in the first place. Stick with the natural liquid form.
So what CAN you use Apple Cider Vinegar for? The list is really long, but I want to give you just a taste, if you’ll excuse my terrible pun.
Keep reading for some simple but extremely beneficial ways that apple cider vinegar can improve your health.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Health
There’s nothing new about apple cider vinegar. It’s been around for thousands of years and in fact you may have a bottle of your own sitting on a shelf in your kitchen. Dig into the back and see if there’s a dusty bottle of Bragg’s back there. If there is, you probably bought it, or were given it, to use in salad dressings and marinades, and it’s very, very good for that.
But what about those health benefits?
Apple cider vinegar has been around as long as … well, apples. The ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks made frequent use of it. Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine, used it for its healing properties.
The natural health community has been clear for a long time that apple cider vinegar helps many conditions. Be aware that mainstream doctors are not likely to agree, so my disclaimer is this — I’m not a doctor or medical professional in any way!
Use your common sense.
The basis for much of the health benefits of apple cider vinegar is the acetic acid that forms during the fermentation process. It is known to kill pathogens like bacteria.
As more and more bacteria are becoming resistant to pharmaceutical antibiotics, we need to start looking into more natural ways to destroy the bad bugs. Recently, my three year old had to have two full rounds of antibiotics to heal an infected cut that would not respond to antibiotic cream or salt soaks. That worries me.
Type 2 Diabetes
Adding 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar – the good kind with an active mother – certainly appears to regulate sugar and glycemic levels. Mix it up with olive oil and a few other ingredients for a simple but delicious salad dressing.
Having this at the beginning of your meal can prevent sugar levels from spiking after eating.
Most people who have tried to lose weight know that high sugar and glycemic levels are to avoided. Again, starting your main meals (but probably not breakfast), with that salad can help your body burn up fat instead of storing it.
Now, this one is rather controversial. But those who believe in detoxing say that using apple cider vinegar in your diet every day keeps your organs detoxified. What this means is that phlegm and mucuous deposits are broken down and eliminated, leading the organs to function more efficiently. Admittedly, I’m not sold on this. If your liver needs detoxing, I think you are probably past what apple cider vinegar can do and you should probably see a doctor.
But if you do still have liver function and want to take apple cider vinegar as a preventative measure, it most definitely won’t hurt.
Apple cider vinegar is a traditional folk remedy for arthritis, to dissolve the painful uric acid that forms around arthritic joints. Either eat the salad, or mix 2 tablespoons of the vinegar in water and drink with each meal. It is very important to tell your doctor before doing this, though, because it might interfere with medications.
Unless you have a very unusual doctor, you might not want to get into a big discussion about the benefits of apple cider vinegar. Just let him know you’ve been using it as a salad dressing two or three times a day, which is something no doctor will argue with, and double check that there are no known drug interactions.
Numerous other ailments have also been treated with apple cider vinegar. These include heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, nail fungi, cholesterol and even cancer prevention just to name a few.
Here’s some other ways that apple cider vinegar can be used to benefit your health.
- Use it to control dandruff – mix with equal parts water and spray onto your hair.
- Soothe a sore throat by mixing 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 3 teaspoons of honey in a glass of warm water.
- Stop foot odor by pouring 1 cup apple cider vinegar over a few baby wipes, or use thick paper towels. Place inside a zip lock bag and store overnight in the fridge. Use these to wipe your feet each morning. It can work for underarm deodorant, too.
- Suffer with digestive issues or gas? Add 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar into a glass of warm water and drink just before each meal. Drinking this as you feel heartburn coming on can soothe it.
- Help clear up your skin by using a cloth soaked in apple cider vinegar. This helps to restore the PH in your skin. You can also place apple cider vinegar directly on pimples, scars and age spots to help minimize them.
- Soak in the tub by adding 1 cup apple cider vinegar. It’s great for your skin tone and to help soothe sunburn.
- Cleanse your mouth and help whiten your teeth by mixing 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar with water and then using it as a mouth wash.
But HOW do you add apple cider vinegar to your diet when you haven’t been using it? After all, it’s vinegar. You are hardly going to chug down a glass before breakfast.
It’s actually not as hard as you might think. KEEP READING!
Adding Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Diet
Since apple cider vinegar comes with so many health benefits, it only makes sense to add it to your diet on a daily basis. If that’s new to you, it might not come naturally.
You’ll need to put your thinking cap on to come up with ways to use it, so I’ll help you with a few.
You already know you should be eating salads regularly, right? They are loaded with vitamins and nutrients and add fiber.
Honestly, most of us need more fiber in our diets.
Apple cider vinegar makes a great salad dressing. My favourite salad dressing is so simple – I squeeze half a lemon into 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar and toss my vegetables in it. The flavour is strong and rich so that nothing else is really needed. You can also add it to homemade mayonnaise.
Preparing various meats such as steak or chicken often calls for a marinade. Skip the store bought variety – it’s probably full of stuff you shouldn’t be using anyway – and make a homemade concoction. Adding apple cider vinegar to the mix will give the meat a delicious taste.
What about indigestion and stomach troubles? Plenty of people have problems with them. They can occur for a variety of reasons and no one likes them. If the problems are mild enough, try using apple cider vinegar instead of buying a commercial product. Add 2 teaspoons to water along with some fresh ginger to create an effective treatment. The pectin and the antibiotic properties of the apple cider vinegar can really help to soothe the stomach.
Here’s another quick idea – add a splash of homemade apple cider vinegar to fruit and vegetable juices to boost their health benefit. You probably won’t even taste it.
Most of us know that we should be exercising, right? There are so many benefits – weight loss, stress relief and plain old physical fitness. Sometimes, though, people become very tired after a workout. Adding a few drops of apple cider vinegar to your water bottle can help with that, and it’s yet another way to add a bit more apple cider vinegar to your diet.
Half a fresh lemon and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar – while it’s great on salad, it tastes very different in a glass of water. Some people say that it helps to clean out and detox your liver. Perhaps that’s true, but what I do know is that it cuts some of the hunger, which means that I eat less. If the taste is too strong, start with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and slowly increase.
Last week, I walked by some people talking at the grocery store. I couldn’t help but hear the conversation – a young man was raving about how he started drinking a glass of water with lemon juice and apple cider vinegar before every meal. He said his carb cravings had disappeared, his appetite had stabilized to normal, and he was gradually and effortlessly losing weight.
No, I didn’t interrupt and say “I know, right!!!” because that might have been weird.
These are just some of the ways that apple cider vinegar can be added into your daily diet. There’s no need to drink a glass of it at a time – that would be very unpleasant. But by adding a little bit here and there, it adds up.
Okay, but … good quality apple cider vinegar like Bragg’s is expensive. No argument there.
BUT you can make your own.
And it’s easy.
Want to know how to make your own apple cider vinegar?
Making Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar
It is surprisingly easy to make your own apple cider vinegar. You’re going to need some organic apples – any variety will work.
Cut them into quarters or chunks, put them into a bowl and let them oxidize and turn brown. You can even use apple peels and cores by themselves instead of the whole apples.
As a mother of toddlers, I have been known to find a dozen apples on my counter, all with one small bite out of them. That’s a great opportunity to start a batch of vinegar!
Once the apples have turned nicely brown, cover them with water and cover with cheesecloth. You can also put them into a large jar. The cheesecloth will keep fruit flies and dirt out.
Now just leave it alone. Put it in a dark, warm place where it can sit undisturbed and leave it alone. Stir it once a week or so, but leave it there for about six months. Vinegar doesn’t happen overnight. The apple juice has to turn into alcohol and then convert into vinegar.
When a scum forms on top, remove it. That’s a natural process from the fermentation.
About six months after the process has started, filter it through cheesecloth into a wide-mouthed jar. Cover it again with cheesecloth and leave it for another six weeks.
At this point, cover the vinegar tightly and store it in a cool place like a refrigerator. You now have organic apple cider vinegar!